Hans Alf Gallery
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Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:50

Henrik Saxgren: Ultima Thule

Henrik Saxgren: Ultima Thule

09.05.17 - 24.05.17

 

On the occasion of the release of Henrik Saxgren's long-awaited book, Ultima Thule, published by Gyldendal, a small selection of works from the book will be on display in our project room. The opening of this mini-show will coincide with the official book release.

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:46

Balder Olrik: Under Reconstruction

Balder Olrik: Under Reconstruction

07.04.17 - 13.05.17

 

After his surprising comeback to the art scene last year, following a sixteen year hiatus, things have been busy for Balder Olrik. A handful of Danish museums have already added the former painter’s cool and mysterious photographs to their collections, a few international institutions have shown interest, and most recently the Danish Arts Foundation acquired five pieces from his “Nodak Moments” series.

 

Balder Olrik photographic activity is based on a method he calls ”System 2”. This term was coined by Israeli-American psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, who uses systems theory to explain, how cognitive processes work in humans.

 

System 1 is the mechanism, which is typically activated and functional in our interaction with the surrounding world. This system handles ”unproblematic” impressions so frequent and mundane that no analysis or reflection is necessary, because we know them by heart and instinctively recognize them. For instance, seeing a chair we need not analyze its construction or ponder the laws of physics – we can simply sit down, because countless previous encounters have taught us that this is safe to do.

 

System 2 is the mechanism, which is activated, when we encounter something we do not immediately understand: The scene is familiar, but something is off. System 2 handles complexity, incomplete input and the mysterious. We are forced to look twice and analyze our impression. What exactly was it that threw us off?

 

It is this second gaze, which Balder Olrik tries to goad. With his carefully placed blocks of colour, blanked-out details and minute deviations in the frame of the passe-partout, Olrik forces his audience to halt and reflect in a world, where a relentless and uninterrupted flood of images will easily leave us numb. It is a claim to afterthought in a superficial time.

 

In his new series ”Under Reconstruction” Balder Olrik, in his own words, “attempts to draw a metaphysical portrait of a young woman, who struggles with her new role as a mother”. Through 16 manipulated photographs of refurbishments accompanied by notes from a therapy session, the artist outlines a fundamental feeling of existential unease and loneliness, which he claims a lot of new mothers experience. True to form, we find no humans, animals or machines in Olrik’s works, and the meticulously placed colour blocks that are so characteristic to his method create a sense of impermeability and censorship.

 

Olriks works have a peculiar habit of triggering emotions in their audience. And a combination of concise almost laconic texts, reminiscent of Raymond Carver, and ominous, abandoned photographs of scaffolded buildings will almost definitely grab you by the throat this time around.

 

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:43

Louise Hindsgavl: Fixed Ideas

Louise Hindsgavl: Fixed Ideas

24.02.17 - 01.04.17

 

In her first solo exhibition with Hans Alf Gallery, Louise Hindsgavl continues her exploration of the rapport between porcelain and metal; something that was heralded in 2016 with the critically acclaimed “Overtryk” in Trapholt.

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:34

Fredrik Raddum: Bortenfor

Fredrik Raddum: Bortenfor

13.09.18 - 20.10.2018

 

The Norwegian word “bortenfor” refers to the intangible; that which is beyond our reach or comprehension. In the context of Raddum's new exhibition, "bortenfor" serves as a mission statement: This time around, and quite contrary to his usual approach, Raddum has decided to let chaos and chance rule in an effort to free himself and his artworks of the inevitable habits and rutines established through years of artistic practice. It is a question of moving beyond borders and frameworks in order to explore the unknown.

 

According to Raddum himself, the process of making "Bortenfor" has been characterized by "an open approximation without a framework or a certain theme that limits or hinders". This state of proverbial creative "boundlessness" acts as both a point of departure and a common thread throughout the show and its works.

Fredrik Raddum's search for "that which is beyond" also explains the exhibition's subtitle "Outside the Verge of Liminal Spaces".

 

In anthropology and in literature, a liminal space is "a blurry boundary zone between two established and clear spatial areas". It is this uneasy, undefinable state that the artist wishes to explore: Whether it be a man trying to focus on one thing, while his head is a whirlwind of thoughts; the disillusioned girl whose face is a blind trunk and whose hands are pacified in bundles; or the boy frozen mid-tumble, while reality (personified as two wild boars) stagger on beneath his feet - they are all seen in a state of transition, caught in liminal spaces.

 

The art is moving beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:30

Balder Olrik: Outtakes

Balder Olrik: Outtakes

08.06.18 - 28.06.2018

 

In 2015, following a 16-year hiatus from the art scene and to the surprise of many, Balder Olrik introduced himself as a photographer. Since then, the former painter has had no less than three solo shows, and museums and foundations alike have embraced his new identity. In ‘Outtakes’, the director of Hans Alf Gallery has been granted full access to Olrik’s photographical backlist. The outcome is a beautiful and – in terms of Olrik – atypical show that celebrates the creative choices of an innovative artist.

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:15

Christian Achenbach: Kaleidoscope

Christian Achenbach: Kaleidoscope

24.05.18 - 01.07.2018

 

After nearly a decade with now defunct LARM Gallery, German painter and sculptor extraordinaire, Christian Achenbach, joined the Hans Alf Gallery team in the fall of 2017. On the occasion of his first solo exhibition with us, we asked Berlin-based curator, Philipp Bollmann, to give us his thoughts on Achenbach's practice in general and Kaleidoscope in particular:

 

A kaleidoscope is an optical toy shaped like a telescope. The turning of the tube causes the colored glass pieces to go into motion, producing an infinite number of geometric shapes and patterns. The etymology of the word derives from Greek ' καλός ( kalós , “beautiful”), εἶδος ( eîdos , “shape”) ‘ and σκοπέω ( skopeō , "to look to, to examine”), thus the word alludes to “[the] observation of beautiful forms.”

 

The title of the exhibition can be seen as somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as it is widely considered a faux pas within the community of visual arts to employ any linguistic references pertaining to the notion of beauty; let alone to have such thoughts or even pass judgement in such a category. Achenbach does not shy away from being ironic towards his art, yet there is no doubt that he has certainly developed and truly refined his own imagery over the last decade.

 

Christian Achenbach is a true painter. As banal as this statement may sound, it takes true courage for a contemporary artist to adopt a clear stance where every form of expression and every point of reference are generally permitted. Achenbach's achievement is nothing less than a continuation of the history of painting. By his own admission, ‘the subject is not as important, but rather it is a question of providing a suitable stage for painting as a process in itself.’

 

His works are built from numerous collages consisting of geometric shapes, gestural painting, color gradients, and neon shades. The static objects and dynamic elements are played against each other, testifying to a passion for material as well as his passion for process. Achenbach's material aethetics are grounded in an allure created by a fusion of different tools and techniques. The paint is brushed, scraped or sprayed. Glossy surfaces sit next to matt surfaces, rough next to smooth. Fine reliefs are derived from color spread out across the canvas.

 

In his earlier work, Achenbach mixed figuration with abstraction. In his more recent works he disengages from figurative depictions, choosing instead to develop the narrative of each painting using formal means. Associations intrude. References to futurism, to cubist elements and to concrete paintings of the 1970's are consistently ubiquitous through Achenbach’s oeuvre. Various artists come to mind: Vasarely, de Kooning, Kandinsky.

 

Achenbach associates his love for music with that of Kandinsky’s, who once claimed that he saw colors when hearing musical tones. It can be argued that the compositions and painterly rhythms give both artists' pictorial spaces respective 'sounds.' A closer look at Achenbach's art-historical quotations reveals an intelligent engagement with Modernity or more precisely with Post-Modernity.

 

On the one hand, he presents us with various quotes from the history of painting that can be considered as both a demonstration of his knowledge and his aesthetic preferences. On the other hand, he is questioning the viewer: Does “Darstellungshoheit” in art exist? Are Malevich's Black Square or the “dripping” of Jackson Pollock exclusively verified?

 

One of his intentions is a critical engagement with originality. The use of quotations serves as an instrument to encourage a discourse about aesthetic conventions and the existing conditions which constitute art. While he obviously juxtaposes various set pieces in his works, he also avoids any kind of ideological position. Such positions were inherent in works by artists of the 20th century.

 

To Christian Achenbach, Modernist painting – with its various facets, errors, and achievements – functions as an alphabet. He employs its characters to create his own language. It is here the title of the exhibition is truly grounded. Like the action of a kaleidoscope, Achenbach produces new assemblages of painterly set pieces, which in turn generate new works.

 

An extension of his reflections on the medium of painting by Achenbach can be found in his sculptures. In the case of Christian Achenbach, his sculptures can be regarded as three-dimensional paintings.The elements, cut out of aluminium and steel, are put together by the artist to form varied forms, which, in different sizes and shapes, have become their own body of works since 2013.The mechanical production of the individual parts stands in contrast to its subsequent painterly refinement. Achenbach's paintings as well as his sculptures investigate the effect of clashing colors and levels, thus demonstrating the same approach with different media.

 

For his latest sculptural works, the artist employs materials from Lalique, a traditional luxury glass brand. Looking closely at the individual parts of the sculptures shows that they combine different colors of glass created in the heating process – not mixed. Amorphous collages arise, the intergral part of which is light. The conceptual origin of Achenbach’s glass objects is to be found in the metaphysics of light - the starting point of neo-Platonism. Its doctrine says that light is the substance of all the things and effectively the whole world. Considering that God is the uncreated light that illuminates everything, it had been the reason as such for creating glass paintings in Gothic Cathedrals with chromatic and abstracted diaphaneity.

 

Finally, the reference point, the meaning and the bridge become clear. It is evident that the painting of Achenbach connects to his sculptures against this historical backdrop.

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:10

Carl Krull: Resonance

Carl Krull: Resonance

06.04.18 - 05.05.2018

 

In “Resonance”, which will be Krull’s first exhibition with Hans Alf Gallery, the audience is presented with a series of the artist’s familiar, seismographic drawings that exemplifies his work through the last decade.

 

We meet works from the road trip series “Car Scroll”, a number of smaller and larger portraits from the series “Omicron” and ”Olmec”, plus two monumental marker drawings from the artist’s latest series “Barrier”.

 

A recurrent characteristic in Krull’s works is an almost sculptural approach to drawing that mimics nature’s peculiar math as found in the growth rings of trees, alluvial soil, and stalactite caves. Through a topographic ocean of lines, Carl Krull creates a unique plasticity that challenges optic perception and breaks with the two-dimensional nature of the paper.

 

Krull’s artistic nature is figurative and improvisational. His techniques and motives leave room for the viewer, who is invited to explore each artwork in search of unknown territories.

 

Carl Krull (b. 1975) lives and works in Copenhagen. His primary fields of interest are drawing and video. He received his Master of Arts at Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland and San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Krull has exhibited widely in Denmark, e.g. ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum and Charlottenborg Kunsthal, and has performed at The Royal Theatre. Internationally he has had exhibitions in the United States, Japan and France among others.

 

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:05

Natasha Kissell: Then Dawns the Invisible

Natasha Kissell: Then Dawns the Invisible

06.04.18 - 19.05.2018

 

By definition, the visual arts are concerned with the visible. But what if the observable world, limited as it is by its own physicality, isn’t in itself enough to explain the scope of human experience; of individual thoughts and feelings?

 

During the last couple of years, South African painter Natasha Kissell, who celebrates her sixth solo exhibition with Has Alf Gallery this April, has become increasingly fascinated by the romantic era in British literature, where writers such as Samuel Palmer, William Blake and Emily Brontë were the major heroes. Especially the latter has had a profound influence on Kissell’s recent works, and thus the title of the show – ”Then Dawns the Invisible” – is a direct reference to Brontë’s “The Prisoner”, just like numerous work titles paraphrase lines in her most iconic poems.

 

Bridging the gap of centuries, a peculiar dialogue seems to have emerged between the painter and the poet. In much the same way as Brontë fantasized about a dream world that could be reached through perception, Kissell invites her audience to enter a foggy and unreal yet extremely familiar landscape, which seems to mirror the artist’s own imagination. Unlike Brontë, who famously ‘could never dream till the earth was lost’ to her, Kissell insists on being in the world and dreaming at the same time. It isn’t the poet’s resigned disdain with reality and the continuous pursuit of a vague dream that characterizes Natasha Kissell’s works: They are not fatalistic as their romantic model, but rather they seek to emphasize the dream as a real and beautiful possibility amid the hustle-bustle of everyday life.

 

And yet, a sense of melancholy is always present in Natasha Kissell’s works. As when she names a painting “For the World is More Full of Weeping, Than We Can Ever Understand” and openly references W. B. Yeats. But with Kissell, melancholy exists more as a profound solemnity; a reflection on the imperfect nature of reality in the face of the ideality of dreams. This play on utopian ideals is apparent in Kissell’s stylized portrayal of hyper symmetrical architecture, in the otherworldly light in her landscapes, or in the inner perspective of her paintings that always seems to defy itself to a certain extent. Kissell wants to remind us that, what we see is merely a fantasy. But we’re also encouraged to surrender to the illusion.

 

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 14:45

Frank Fischer: Henry Hudson

Frank Fischer: Henry Hudson

02.03.18 - 31.03.2018

 

While Per Morten Abrahamsen’s ”Magnified” is on display in the main gallery, a series of new works by Swiss painter Frank Fisher will be on view in the Hans Alf Gallery project room.

 

As always, Fischer bases his works on that of an existing artist: The color scheme of each individual painting is deciphered and reproduced in Fischer’s onerous drip-painting technique, so that the finished work becomes a representation of the original. Fischer has done this with artists such as Cy Twombly, Ferdinand Hodler and Emil Nolde – and with great success.

 

This time, Fischer explores British painter Henry Hudson’s “Sun City Tanning”-series from 2016. The result is a deep and quite different palette. It's not like anything we’re used to seeing from the hand of Fischer.

The exhibition consists of a total of seven works.

 

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 14:11

Per Morten Abrahamsen: Magnified

Per Morten Abrahamsen: Magnified

02.03.18 - 31.03.2018

 

The photographical work of Per Morten Abrahamsen is tied together by several constant values – the radical, the unorthodox and the transboundary. At the same time, it is characterized by a playfulness and an ongoing test of own abilities and expressions.

With the exhibition ”Magnified”, Per Morten Abrahamsen creates new works by revisiting earlier works, giving them new life in an attempt to look forward by gazing back.

 

Abrahamsen is a master of the staged photography; with infallible accuracy and insight, he creates tableaus that represent a deformed reality, where man seems detached and alone despite being surrounded by people. It is in the dysfunctional connotations of the motif, in the latent anxiety of the works that we find the story: something is wrong, something has shifted; we are repelled and fascinated at the same time.


This intentional use of a shifting perspective and the confusion of realities is demonstrated in an exemplary fashion in one of the four series, Abrahamsen presents in ”Magnified”: In four three dimensional works that – in addition to the photograph itself – incorporates found objects in a form of assemblage, the photographer reintroduces his well-known stagings in small, claustrophobic rooms, which function as both photography, painting and sculpture al in one.

 

Per Morten Abrahamsen has exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums, including The Royal Danish Library, ARoS, Frederiksberg Castle, The National Museum of Photography and FNAC Paris. Furthermore, Abrahamsen has released several books – most recently ”Monkey, The Lake and Other Lies” in 2017.

 

 

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